On Friday July, 20th the world woke up to the news that a crazed gun man walked into a midnight screening of the Warner Brothers film "Dark Knight Rises" and opened fire. Like many, I watched the report stunned at this horrific act of violence. I was angry that this had happened but my anger grew as the reporters claimed that it was a man in costume who committed this crime. One reporter suggested that he was dressed as Bane. The topic then shifted to the violence in the film and that it had somehow inspired James Eagan Holmes to gun down movie goers even though no one in the theatre had seen the movie yet. Even after a survivor from the theatre called into the Today Show on NBC saying the man was not in costume but was wearing body armor and a gas mask to protect himself against the gas he ignited, the reporters remained ignorant and still pointed the finger at Batman and "passionate" people in costumes.
The media is no stranger to sensationalism (and reporting things that aren't true yet failing to correct themselves) but in this case, many people in the comic and cosplay world were offended. Reports were essentially saying that it was one of us who went on a murderous rampage. A cosplayer took it too far. A comic fan wanted life to imitate art. It was Batman's fault. It's comic books fault. It's the cosplayers fault. Why was the blame shifted to us and not the lunatic who committed this crime? Why were they making excuses for him? Why were they bringing the art of comics, cosplay and movies into this? People have been committing violent acts since the dawn of time, before there were movies, comics or indoor plumbing. Jack the Ripper murdered prostitutes in London in 1888. Cain killed his brother Able in the Bible. In the Middle Ages acts of torture included limb and finger removal, bone breaking and boiling. There was no Batman to blame, only the perpetrator. Because of the Colorado shooting and the media spotlighting comics and cosplay, I wouldn't be surpried if Movie Theatres begin banning anyone in costume for Midnight Showings.
I have been a victim of the press and it's sensationalism. A few years ago my grandfather was murdered in his own home. Because my Uncle is a Police Officer, the local news and media was all over the story, calling it "Father of a Police Officer Murdered In Home". Dealing with the death of a loved one is hard enough but it's a million times worse when they are taken from you. The press kept hounding my mother who unwillingly became our family spokesperson to help get the word out to catch the murderer. The press was very insensitive. I broke down in hysterics when I saw my grandfather's body being carried out of his home in a body bag on television. When it was time for the funeral, the reporters and camera men had surrounded the church, snapping shots of anything they could get. They went into a frenzy when my Uncle's Police District arrived to pay their respects along with the Special Crimes Unit. After the casket was loaded into the hearse, a camera man jumped in my face to snap a shot of me walking with my mother. She grabbed my hand. I turned my tear stained face away so he couldn't get the shot. They didn't care about me or my family and many of them reported things that weren't true. But it didn't matter. They just wanted to get a story.
Safe to say, I don't like reporters very much and strive to be different from them when it comes to my own writing. I am going to be very clear in making my point: The shooting in Colorado was the fault of James Eagan Holmes. Not Hollywood, not Batman and not the cosplay community. New reports from the police are saying that this was done with "calculation and deliberation". His apartment was rigged with explosives and he murdered 12 people and wounded 58 others. Unconfirmed reports stating that he was inspired by the Joker are irrelevant. He wanted to kill. He's a murderer, just like Jack the Ripper and other madmen before him. I can tell you personally that you cannot reason with madness and chances are you will never get your answer as to why it happened. I still don't know why my 80 year old Grandfather was murdered; why he was chopped up in his own home. I can tell you that it won't change anything even if I knew the answer. In all honestly, I don't care. I don't want to hear the excuses of the man who took my Grandfather away. NOTHING will justify that and NOTHING will justify the shooting in Colorado. Like Micheal Cane memorable said in "The Dark Knight:"
"Some men just want to watch the world burn."